Profile picture for Ramachandra

How do you verify accuracy of owner edited information?

I am viewing a property that the owner/someone edited the number of baths from 2.5 to 3.0, which I believe increased the Z-estimate. I know the property has 2.5 baths for a fact. How do you verify accuracy of this information and re-estimate more appropriately/accurately?

 
  • October 15 2009 - Cheshire
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Answers (3)

Profile picture for Blue Nile
As David mentioned, if the house is "for sale", they will not deviate too much from the actual data as it would be too obvious when the party comes to look, and no one wants to buy from a liar.

But people do manipulate the data for other reasons, such as "privacy", or for "keeping up with the Jones'" random neighborhood comparisons.  They also manipulate it if they think a lender might look at the number for qualifiation for a refinance or mortgage modification.  Some lenders may "look" at the number for a quick "ball park", but none of them lend based on the number.  Others manipulate properties around the one of concern to them to affect the general marketing trends to influence potential buyers.

If the numbers are close, I wouldn't worry about it too much.  And as wet dawgs pointed out, if they say they have 99 bathrooms, you know it is a joke.  Some do that just because they are mad that Zillow provides any public record data.  If they really wanted to "hide" their house, they would turn it into a gas station and move it 6 blocks away from the actual location.

But as David pointed out, it really is only a minority of users that will purposely put up false information.
  • October 16 2009
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When I first arrived at Zillow way back when, I had virtually the same question. And what I tell you is what I was told: in general, people tend to be pretty honest when it comes to their home info.

Maybe it's because, despite all our modern cynicism, people are still pretty honest. Or maybe it's because if you have people coming to look at your home, your fib about having twice as large a lot and rows of marble columns is quickly exposed.
  • October 15 2009
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
You have a good point.  Zestimates can be manipulated.   Some of them are pretty silly (such as a 900 square foot house with 99 bathrooms).     Some of them are more subtle.   Some, such as the one you mention, may simply be a lack of awareness at how bathrooms are counted.

This reenforces the concept that Zillow screams from the rooftops that Zestimates are starting points for comparisons, not an appraisal etc.
  • October 15 2009
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